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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Michael Whatley was driving on FM Road 2791 in Cass County on a Wednesday evening in June; Roger Lollar rode in the front passenger seat, while Wendy Riley rode in the back seat. Lollar asked Whatley to flag down a car approaching from the opposite direction, because he thought he knew the drivers. After stopping the other car and realizing that drivers, a couple who lived on FM 2791, were not whom Lollar thought they were, Whatley slowly drove away. At the same time, a car driven by Shadrick Clinton Hale in the same direction as Whatley’s car, crested the hill about four-tenths of a mile behind Whatley and crashed into the back of Whatley’s car, killing Riley. When police arrived, Hale failed field sobriety tests, then blew a .147 in an Intoxilyzer test conducted two hours later. Hale was convicted of intoxication manslaughter. Hale appeals, arguing that the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to support his conviction. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court notes the testimony of several eye witnesses, all of whom said Hale was traveling at a high rate of speed, and that he swerved into the other lane before braking and then crashing into Whatley’s car. A state trooper confirmed the Intoxilyzer test results, while a DPS breath-test specialist testified about the effects alcohol has on a driver’s ability to react quickly. An accident reconstructionist presented the results of his examination of the scene, noting that depending on whether Whatley’s car was stopped or traveling at as much as 10 miles per hour at the time of impact, Hale’s car was traveling between 44 miles per hour and 51 miles per hour; therefore, Hale was traveling at a high rate of speed than that as he crested the hill and before he applied the brakes. The court notes that Hale is correct that the state must prove that his intoxication, not just his operation of a vehicle, caused the fatal accident. Whatley’s decision to stop in the road and then drive away very slowly was certainly a concurrent cause of the accident. “However, the law recognizes a causal relationship when the defendant’s conduct and the other cause together may be sufficient to have caused the harm unless the concurrent cause was clearly sufficient to produce the result and the conduct of the defendant was clearly insufficient. . . . The facts here do not allow a conclusion that Whatley’s conduct, by itself, . . . was clearly sufficient to cause the harm. Without the occurrence of Hale driving his vehicle while intoxicated, at a high rate of speed, Whatley’s conduct would not have resulted in Riley’s death.” OPINION:Carter, J.; Morriss, C.J., Ross and Carter, J.J.

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